When Niche Becomes Mainstream

It seems like most niche products eventually become mainstream. Well, perhaps not most, but many. Everything from technology, designer clothes, and jewelry to travel destinations and exotic dishes tend to eventually become accessible to most as income levels grow. And with a critical mass of consumers, prices go down. For good and bad. More consumption means more jobs along the supply chains and lower prices means higher relative incomes and general wealth. For the consumers, it can mean new experiences or tools to make our lives more efficient, or it can become must-have obsessions of completely unnecessary things that do not in any way add to our happiness. And moving from niche to mass markets often means more pressure on the environment and use of scares resources. However, this transfer from niche to mainstream that I saw in my neighborhood cafe today must be a good thing. Fair trade products still constitute a very small market globally, but in my neighborhood fair trade coffee seem to have become the regular coffee!


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